ProMat breaks attendance, exhibit records

News Story
- 26 Mar 2015 ( #711 ) - Chicago, IL, United States
2 min read
Attendance at Promat 2015 in Chicago of more than 35,000 is set to break a record for the biennial event.
Attendance at Promat 2015 in Chicago of more than 35,000 is set to break a record for the biennial event.
Although a rare March snow storm that swept through Chicago on the first day of ProMat 2015 delayed the arrival of many attendees, by Tuesday, the second day of the four-day event, the showfloor hummed with activity as more than 35,000 people poured into McCormick Place for the largest materials handling event in North America.

According to show officials, this year's edition of the biennial event is the largest ProMat, by any measure, since before the economic recession of 2008. While the ProMat showfloor takes up 325,000 sqft. (30,193 sqm), Automate, the trade event focused around the automation industry that has collocated with ProMat since 2011, takes up another 100,000 sqft. (9,290 sqm)

ProMat, organised by the Materials Handling Institute (MHI), exceeded its own goal of a 305,000 sqft. (28,335 sqm.) showfloor, according to MHI CEO George Prest, creating a combined trade event of close to 425,000 sqft. (39,483 sqm).

"We've vastly exceeded that," Prest says. "In fact, for the first time ever, the show has been sold out. We have more than 800 exhibitors here."

However, it isn't just the numbers that tell the tale of the enthusiasm. Prest notes that there are more orders being taken in showfloor booths than in recent years.

"Companies are investing in productivity - and productivity is what our industry is all about," he says.

On the showfloor itself, many attendees talked about seeing an industry trend toward enhanced safety measures, evident by the number of new products being introduced.

"Yes, I'd definitely say that is true," confirms Trelleborg Wheel Systems America communications manager Jessica Aubley. "Safety seems to be the focus of a lot of them."

As just one example, Damotech, a provider of rack repair and safety solutions, announced at ProMat the formation of a new company division, to be called Racknowledge, devoted solely to safety in industrial racking systems.

"Our clients are companies that take warehouse safety seriously," says Racknowledge chief engineer Charles Carbonneau. "So, we want to ensure that their racking systems meet and exceed industry standards."

A first-time event this year is the Workforce Summit, hosted by a consortium of industry associations led by MHI. The goal of the summit is to explore best practices in how to find, train and retain the supply chain workforce of the future.

Prest points out that with the materials handling industry adding 1.4 million jobs in the United States over the next three years, a skilled workforce is perhaps the great challenge facing the industry right now.
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